The EnviroNZ Franklin Bulls remain undefeated following a gritty 79-75 win over the Southland Sharks in Pukekohe on Saturday night.
Jayden Bezzant came out red hot for the Bulls, scoring the team's first 13 points of the game. He had 17 points in the first half on 6-of-8 shooting from the field and 2-of-3 from three.
It was a physical encounter from the tip-off, and the Bulls managed to force 15 first half turnovers by the Sharks to give them a 10-point advantage at the break; the Bulls outscoring the Sharks 25-10 in the second quarter.
The Sharks looked like a completely different team in the third quarter, though. They outscored the Bulls by nine points in the quarter fueled by Mojave King and some crisp offence. Franklin got into foul trouble early in the quarter and it hindered their ability to play physical defence.
It was Jayden Bezzant's night, however, as he led the Bulls past a feisty Sharks team with 28 points, three rebounds, eight assists and four steals on 10-of-18 shooting from the field and 3-of-5 from three. The arrival of Corey Webster will form quite the backcourt for Franklin, who have already shown they're one of the top defensive units in the league with two solid showings so far.
Leon Henry contributed 13 points, nine rebounds and two steals on 5-of-7 shooting and 3-of 5 from downtown. Henry showed his experience in this one, making big plays down the stretch on both ends of the floor to help guide his team home. Anzac Rissetto added 11 points and five rebounds for the Bulls.
Mojave King had another stellar outing for the Sharks, dropping 25 points, six rebounds and and two assists on 9-of-14 shooting from the field. King's athleticism enabled him to drive into the lane and get good looks over defenders, but he also showcased his range with a pair of 3-pointers. Dom Kelman-Poto did a bit of everything again in this one with 13 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, three steals and three blocks in 35 minutes of work.
The Sharks are right back at it tomorrow against the Property Brokers Manawatu Jets in Palmerston North.
SCORE: Bulls 77, Sharks 93
Bulls: Bezzant 28 PTS, 3 REB, 8 AST, 3 STL | Henry 13 PTS, 9 REB, 2 STL | Rissetto 11 PTS
Sharks: King 25 PTS, 6 REB, 2 AST | Kelman-Poto 13 PTS, 14 REB, 3 AST, 3 STL, 3 BLK | Inger 11 PTS, 9 REB
Full box score HERE.
Stuff MVP Votes
Jayden Bezzant (Bulls) - 10 votes
Leon Henry (Bulls) - 7 votes
Mojave King (Sharks) - 6 votes
Dom Kelman-Poto (Sharks) - 3 votes
Anzac Rissetto (Bulls) - 3 votes
Brayden Inger (Sharks) - 1 vote
Bulls - May 14 vs. Nelson Giants
Sharks - May 8 @ Manawatu Jets
Round 2 Sal's NBL Schedule